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June 2022 musings

This is the first of my monthly pieces about Gardening - both inner and outer.

My intention is to share practical garden notes and knowledge as well as ponder how those same processes can be applied to our inner landscape.

Because I live in New Zealand - or Aotearoa, I will be incorporating concepts that are drawn from a Māori world view, what is referred to as Te Ao Māori. I do not have Māori ancestry but like many New Zealanders, I am striving to embrace and honour the rich traditions of the Māori people. I am sure I will make mistakes in my use of those concepts as I am a learner. I own my errors in advance with humility.

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have just passed the shortest day / longest night which coincides with Matariki,  the Māori New Year. Last week we observed a public holiday for the first time to celebrate Matariki. The Pleiades star cluster heralds this time for Māori. and are visible for a short time before dawn during late June - early July. Unfortunately both times I have been out at pre-dawn 5.30am, it has been dark, cold and cloudy.

The spiritual significance of this time is threefold:

Remembrance – Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki

Celebrating the present – Gathering together to give thanks for what we have

Looking to the future – Looking forward to the promise of a new year

Now, with my gardener's hat on, the same three processes are at play at this time of year.

Autumn shifting into winter is a time of deep gratitude for the goodness of the earth, the abundance of vegetables and fruit that have been harvested and will sustain us through til next spring and summer.

For most gardeners in NZ the harvesting of the summer bounty has finished. Hopefully, you, will be able to continue to enjoy delicious sweet pumpkins and the delights of pickles and jams.

Goodies from our garden 2022

Goodies from our garden 2022

Like the Matariki process of rememberance, one of the Autumn jobs in the garden is tidying up the detritus from the summer crops.  The pumpkin vines are pulled out...  the compost are made.

I am passionate about making compost!

 It never ceases to amaze me how garden waste and kitchen scraps can be piled up with leaves, straw, some seaweed and possibly some manure. The reward is rich, dark, sweet smelling compost. I have written more about Compost here.

Making compost connects me with the great rhythms of life and death… dare I say, it feels like the most physical of processes - earthy, mucky and tactile, whilst also being a spiritual process.

Let me explain before you think I am completely crazy!.

Making compost reminds me that everything has a place, that everything is in a constant process of change, that all good things come to an end, that we cannot have spring and summer without winter and autumn.

Now the garden seems to rest ...  nothing grows very fast, if at all. The ground is soggy and sodden ...

Of course there is still lots going on under the surface.

If you haven't seen the doco 'Fantastic Fungi' I recommend it very highly. Its available on Netflix.

It gave me a whole new appreciation for the earth and all the life it supports.

How satisfying it is to tuck the garden beds up with compost, mulch, seaweed and know that all that goodness will be available for next year's crops.

Autumn is a time of letting go.  We trim, cut back and prune the old wood, and the diseased wood to create space for new growth in the spring when the sap rises again.

The trees release their leaves. and gift us their final gift of glorious colour. What a show!


There is a time to reap, there is a time to release.

We have an Autumn season in our inner landscape too and it can be richly rewarding.

I notice that Autumn seems to be a time that I naturally become conscious of what I need to celebrate, acknowledge what I have achieved, what challenges I have met and what new skills I have acquired.

Autumn is also a time of releasing old beliefs and old ways of thinking. It is a time when I return to one of the processes that has served me over many years - the power of creating ritual.

Rituals or ceremonies can be as simple or as complex as we make them.

Rituals are amazing processes …

Last year I spent some time creating a ritual to let go of some old beliefs about myself.

I made a sack-cloth garment to symbolise the way those beliefs constrained my power and beauty.

With my partner there to support and witness me (a witness is VERY important), I removed the sack cloth, using my voice and movement to embody the letting go process.

Stepping right into the ritual was so powerful. Since then I have noticed that I am relating to and experiencing my family in a fundamentally different way.

You can read the full description here.

What follows are some of the photos ...

Using ritual to release  experiences, beliefs, or trauma is powerful, moving, poignant and life affirming.

Ritual has provided me with opportunities to surprise myself with my creativity, my courage and my commitment to become all I can be. Having someone with me whom I trust is so empowering, the sense of being seen and heard so healing.

The ritual above was quite complex and required time and materials ... and ritual can be simple  ...

I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to introduce my grand-daughters, Frankie and Aubrey to simple rituals. What child doesn't love the sparkle and crackle of a fire in all its aliveness?

The fire pit is lit  and pinecones are used as symbols.

We share what we are thankful for

and what we hope for....

What might you be drawn to release and let go of?

Life is short... grab the moment

Step out of smallness (fear, regret or whatever...) and step into your beauty and power.

Just the great wheel of the seasons turns .... the outer garden sleeps now.

So too we can have a season of letting go of what no longer serves us.


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